AIR SHOW

For all its fine lines and whispery color by newcomer Mariniello, this appreciation of airplanes suffers from a crippling split personality. The couplets that ferry it along are extremely simple: “White clouds, blue sky— / Up above . . . Eagles fly.” Each of the 13 planes introduced here, from the Sopwith Camel to the F-18 Hornet, get this kind of roly-poly verse—“Hawks soar . . . Tigers roar . . . Cougars howl . . . Panthers prowl”—only to have engineering drawings of a plane by the same name as the animal or insect often take a whole page right alongside the paintings of the planes slicing through the air. A full half of the book will be of little interest, if not active distaste, by whatever age group is reading it: Older kids will resent the infantile poetry, while younger kids will be flummoxed by the detailed drawings and by the statistics at the end (Hawk 75A, wingspan of 37 feet 4 inches, and so on). Any way you cut it, too little or too much sends this effort into a tailspin for all but the most rabid, very young plane fanatic. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-4952-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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THE SEALS ON THE BUS

With a tiger at the wheel, the big purple bus rolls all over town, picking up a menagerie of passengers from sheep (“BAAAH, BAAAH, BAAAH”) to vipers—get it? — (“HISS, HISS, HISS”) to skunks (“SSSS, SSSS, SSSS”) before disgorging its dismayed human riders (“HELP! HELP! HELP!”) at an outdoor party. Though wild creatures waddle, tramp, or slither aboard by troops there's always room for more in Karas’s (Raising Sweetness, 1999, etc.) gleeful paint-and-paper collage scenes. The scene on the bus is bound to provoke a great reaction and reading (or honking) along is inevitable. It's a frolicsome spin on the familiar play rhyme, and a surefire alternative or follow-up to Maryann Kovalski's Wheels on the Bus (1987) or Paul Zelinsky's classic popup version (1990). Hop onboard. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8050-5952-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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